Sunset at Gowanus Bay

Sunset at Gowanus Bay
Sunset at Gowanus Bay, Henry Gritten, 1851

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Confusing Two Men Named Thomas Jefferson Brower

Jacob P. Brower was born May 26, 1799 and baptized May 31, 1799 at the Reformed Dutch Church in Clarkstown, Rockland County, New York. He was the son of Paul Brower (Paulus Brouwer) and Rachel DeBaun. Jacob P. Brower married Martha Mackie, and they were early settlers of Beaver Dam, Dodge County, Wisconsin.

The source for the birth dates of the children of Jacob P. Brower and Martha Mackie is a Family Bible Record that can be found in the journal Wisconsin Families, volume 1, number 4, pages 215-217. Among the couple's ten children are son George Washington Brower, born November 25, 1821 in New York City (the eldest child), and son Thomas Jefferson Brower, born October 21, 1830 in New York. To date this Thomas Jefferson Brower has been confused with another man of the same name who was married to Margaret Griffin. The current version of the Brouwer Genealogy Database includes this incorrect identification and it will be corrected with the next update.

A week or so ago I was contacted by Karen L. Ashworth, a descendant of Thomas Jefferson Brower and Margaret Griffin, who alerted me to the apparent confusion between the two men of the same name. She provided me with a transcript of the obituary of the above mentioned George Washington Brower, and verification of the death of Thomas Jefferson Brower (husband of Margaret Griffin) which together demonstrate that Thomas Jefferson Brower (husband of Margaret Griffin) cannot be a son of Jacob P. Brower and Margaret Mackie.

Thomas Jefferson Brower married Margaret Griffin probably in 1858 and probably in California, perhaps at San Jose in Santa Clara County. Their daughter Hannah Brower appears to have been born June 10, 1859 (as calculated from her age at death) and in San Jose (according to her obituary in the Sacramento Union, July 20, 1912). Thomas Jefferson Brower is found as Jefferson Brower on the 1866 voter register at San Jose, age 39, born in New York, a teamster. He is also found as Jefferson Brower on the 1867 voter register at San Jose, age 39, born in New York, teamster, with the residence, "8th Street, south of Julian." Frustratingly, Thomas J., Margaret and their daughter Hannah, are yet to be found on the 1860 U. S. census. The 1870 U. S. census mortality schedule records that Thomas Jefferson Brower died in September of 1869, age given as 42, of typhoid fever. A notice of the death of Jefferson Brower was published in the San Jose Mercury, September 25, 1869, giving his date of death as September 23, 1869, age given as 38, residence as 8th Street between St. James and Julian. As per Karen L. Ashworth, his estate was probated in the Superior Court, Santa Clara County, California on October 2, 1869 and his wife Margaret, and children, are named (Probate #74-15961, No. 521 Register B, page 482, Estate of Jefferson Brower, can be found on FHL film #1479982). Margaret (Griffin) Brower then married, with California license dated April 15, 1871, Byron M. Vickory. She died as Margaret Vickory on September 28, 1921 at Lodi, San Joaquin County, California. A compiled account of some descendants of Thomas Jefferson Brower and Margaret Griffin, with a great deal of help from Karen, has been placed online (Thomas Jefferson Brower & Margaret Griffin of San Jose and San Joaquin Cos., California).

As stated above, the Thomas Jefferson Brower just covered in the previous paragraph was long thought by many (myself as well) to be the son, Thomas Jefferson Brower, born October 21, 1830 in New York, to Jacob P. Brower and Margaret Mackie. He is not. The obituary of George Washington Brower of Fox Lake, Dodge County, Wisconsin was published in the Argus (Beaver Dam, Wisconsin), January 14, 1897. This obituary, as transcribed by R. D. Mittelstadt in 1999, can be found online at the message boards (Obituary of George Washington Brower). The obituary states that George has a brother, "T. J. Brower" living in Los Angeles, California at the time the obituary was written (January, 1897). It is clear from the information presented in the previous paragraph that Thomas Jefferson Brower (husband of Margaret Griffin) died in San Jose, California in September 1869. He cannot be the T. J. Brower living in Los Angeles in 1897. So we search for evidence of a T. J. (Thomas Jefferson) Brower in California after 1869 and we start around the time of George's death in 1897.

The California voter register (known as the Great Register) of 1896 records a Thomas Jefferson Brower, age 65, born in New York, merchant, residing at 454 N. Bonnie Brae in Los Angeles, California. The 1900 U. S. census records Thomas J. Brower, age 69, born October 1830 in New York, widower, owns a general store, at 110 Pasadena Ave., Pasadena, Los Angeles Co., California. On the 1904 voter register, we find Thomas Jefferson Brower, age 73, living at the Alameda County Infirmary. This man is the Thomas Jefferson Brower who was named in the obituary of George W. Brower as living in Los Angeles in 1897. He is the son of Jacob P. Brower and Margaret Mackie who was born on October 21, 1930, in New York. Working backwards, using the voter registers, census records, a couple of vital records for a son (Jeff Patterson Brower) and some common sense, we can reconstruct the life and whereabouts of this Thomas Jefferson Brower. To keep it short, Thomas Jefferson Brower (also seen as Jefferson Brower and T. J. Brower) left Wisconsin for Chicago, Illinois where he was a merchant living in the household of James Patterson (a grain dealer) in 1870. About this time he married James Patterson's daughter Martha Ella Patterson (sometimes recorded as Martha E., sometimes as Ella). They had two known children, Blanche S. Brower (born about 1870 or 1871) and Jeff Patterson Brower (born between 1876 and 1878, died in Chicago on February 1, 1909). By 1879 the family of Thomas Jefferson Brower and Martha E. Patterson had moved to California. They are found in Downieville, Sierra County in 1879 and 1880; in Fresno County in 1888; in Alameda County in 1890, 1892 and 1894; and then in Los Angeles County in 1896. Throughout his career, Thomas Jefferson Brower is described as a merchant, born in New York, and with an age that indicates a birth date of 1830 or 1831 (and specifically born October 1930 on the 1900 census). His wife, Martha E. Patterson, died before the taking of the U. S. census in June 1900. A record of her death has yet to be found. Thomas Jefferson Brower, as stated above, was living in 1904, back in Alameda County. A record of his death is yet to be found (but one, or a notice of one, and a settlement of his estate is likely out there, yet to be found). The daughter, Blanche S. Brower, is yet to be located after the 1880 census. The son, Jeff Patterson Brower, returned to Chicago where he married Anna H. Davis on November 4, 1907. He died fourteen months later, and it is not yet known if he had any children.

As mentioned it had long been assumed that Jacob P. Brower and Margaret Mackie's son, Thomas Jefferson Brower, had married Margaret Griffin and that they were descendants of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island. The information supplied by Karen L. Ashworth clearly demonstrates that Thomas Jefferson Brower (husband of Margaret Griffin) is not a son of Jacob P. Brower and Margaret Mackie. Whether or not Thoams and Margaret's descendants are also descendants of Adam Brouwer is uncertain. They may well be. Or they may descend from one of the other early Brouwer families. The search is on to find the correct parents and ancestry of Thomas Jefferson Brower. We know he died on September 23, 1869 in San Jose, California. His age, given at various times, places his birth as 1827, 1828 or 1831. The voter registers, taken when he was living, state he was born in New York. Later census records of his children record their father's place of birth variously as New York, Pennsylvania or Indiana. In beginning a search I would assume that the location of New York to be more likely. Perhaps he lived in Pennsylvania and/or Indiana before making his way to California. DNA testing with the Brewer DNA Project, of a direct male descendant named BROWER, would certainly help narrow down the list of possible ancestors for Thomas. The test results could help eliminate any false lines being considered, and would confirm whether or not descendants are also descended from Adam Brouwer, or from one of the other Brouwer families of New Netherland and early New York. We know that Thomas Jefferson Brower and Margaret Griffin had two sons. The elder son, George W. Brower (the W. stands for William) married but had only daughters. The younger son, Thomas Jefferson Brower, Jr., married Sarah Isabel Solkmore and had seven children, but only two of them sons. The younger of the two, Donald Francis Brower (1915-1981), appears to have died without children (at least his death notice does not mention any, although it does name his siblings). The older son, Thomas J. Brower was single as of the 1940 census (Tulare, San Joaquin Co., California). He died in October 1981 in Costa Rica (in Central America). Karen tells me that it is believed (and there may be evidence that it is so) that this Thomas J. Brower did have children. Hopefully, a male descendant can be found who would be interested in participating in the discovery of his ancestor's correct lineage. If a descendant of Thomas J. Brower of Costa Rica happens to read this, please contact us at the Brewer DNA Project.

Thanks again to Karen L. Ashworth for contacting me and for providing verifiable sources. Citations for all above statements, and the correction to the family of Jacob P. Brower and Margaret Mackie will appear online with the next update of the Brouwer Genealogy Database. In the meantime I have placed online a brief chart of their (revised) known descendants (Jacob P. Brower and Margaret Mackie of New York and Beaver Dam, Wisconsin).

Saturday, July 28, 2012


"The good fortune of making discoveries by accident."

In the previous post of just six days ago regarding the will of Maria R. Lefferts, I mentioned that I had not yet bothered to research the identity of Maria's mother-in-law, Phebe, mother of Rem Lefferts. As good fortune would have it, I didn't have to wait long or do much work to find out just who she was. Over the past few days I've been engaged with some problems regarding the Bennet family of Kings County, Long Island and Monmouth and Middlesex Counties, New Jersey. I've had the pleasure of corresponding with a couple of skilled and careful researchers who frequently contribute to the Dutch-Colonies List at Roots-Web.

In an effort to sort out a tangle of Bennet women named Angenitje/Agnietje, Mike Morrisey sent an e-mail citing a couple of old published sources (Riker's Annals of Newtown, and Bergen's Genealogy of the Lefferts Family). Right there on the very pages that were being brought to my attention for the purpose of solving a completely unrelated issue, was the same Phebe who married Barent Lefferts and was the mother of Rem Lefferts. Phebe is, Phebe (or Femmetie) Remsen, born 30 August 1739, a daughter of Rem Remsen (Vander Beeck) and his second wife, Angenietje Bennet.

And with the discovery of Rem Lefferts' mother, we can now see that Rem, and his wife Maria Brower, were fourth cousins, both descendants of Maria Badie (mother-in-law of Adam Brouwer).

So, the lesson in this is keep plugging  away at your brick walls and keep other open issues near by. And keep corresponding with others researching related families. You never know when something is going to fall in your lap. And thanks to Mike for finding Phebe.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Will of Maria R. Lefferts of Brooklyn, New York, 1857

A typed "extract" of the will of Maria R. Lefferts is available online.

This copy is from the William B. Bogardus Collection (Box 5, WIL WW-108). As with all abstracts, transcripts or "extracts," those interested in further research on this family should seek out the original documents at the Kings County Surrogate's Court.

Maria R. Lefferts, was born January 18, 1786 (as calculated from her age at death). She was a daughter of Adolph Brouwer and Aeltje Hulst, and is a descendant of Adam Brouwer. Maria died October 24, 1863, aged 77 yrs., 9 mos., and 6 days. She is buried at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn (lot 9394, section 12). The middle initial "R" in her name appears in recorded after the death of her husband, and may well simply refer to his given name.

Maria Brower was married to Rem Lefferts on January 15, 1824 at the First Reformed Church at Jamaica, Queens County, Long Island. The couple lived in Brooklyn (in the 9th Ward on the 1850 and 1860 census) and there is no evidence that they had any children. Her husband, Rem Lefferts, was fifteen years her senior (born July 11, 1771 as calculated from death), and was apparently the only child of Barrent Lefferts who died shortly after writing his will on June 8, 1819. Rem's mother's name was Phebe (no effort has been made on my part to identify her to any further degree as of this posting). She outlived her husband but died before March 16, 1839 when Rem petitioned the Kings County Surrogate's Court for administration of his father's estate, stating that his father had died some 20 years previous and that he (Rem) was the only heir.

Maria's will is followed by four codicils dated April 12, 1858; January 31, 1860; September 16, 1863; and October 1, 1863. After her husband's death she apparently ended up as the heir to his property previously inherited from his father, and as surmised from the numerous codicils, was very much occupied with just how she was going to distribute this wealth in light of the fact that she and her husband had no heirs of their own. Her will mentions her living siblings as well as numerous nephews and nieces, and some others who have not (as of yet) been identified as having a family relationship to Maria. Among the institutions she mentions is the North Reformed Protestant Dutch Church on Clermont Avenue in Brooklyn. Perhaps a look at the church records for that church will provide baptism and marriage dates for the families of some of Maria's siblings.

Source citations for the above statements, as well as updates to the families of the siblings of Maria R. (Brower) Lefferts, will appear online with the next update of the Brouwer Genealogy Database

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Estate of Althea Brower, 1839

"Inventory and Appraisal of the Personal Property of the Estate of Altheah Brower, sworn to by Garret Brower on Dec. 30, 1839" is available online. This copy is from the William B. Bogardus Collection (Box 5 WIL WW-101). It was received by Bill Bogardus from a correspondent (134-S), and appears to be a typed transcript. Those interested in conducting more thorough research on this family should seek out the original document which should be found in the records of the Kings County, New York Surrogate's Court (As of this date I have not located the originals myself).

"Altheah Brower" was born Aeltje Hulst, a daughter of Anthony Hulst and Altie Van Duyn of Gowanus, Long Island. There is no surviving record of her birth or baptism (records of the Brooklyn Reformed Dutch Church for the period in which she would have born are lost to the ages). The 1813 will of Anthony Hulst of Gowanus mentions his daughter, "Altje, wife of Adolph Brown" (this taken from an abstract by DeWitt Van Buren, Abstracts of Wills in Kings County Recorded at Brooklyn, N. Y., call number F127.K5 V36, accessed at the website). "Brown" is certainly an error, and Brower is meant.

Aeltje Hulst and Adolph Brower were married at Fishkill, Dutchess County, New York on 6 January 1777 ("Marriages of the Dutch Reformed Church at Fishkill," New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, vol. 83 (1952), page 98. After the "Battle of Long Island" in August 1776, many families from the Gowanus area, sought refuge in Dutchess County and waited out the Revolutionary War there. The couple had ten (possibly eleven) children. The settlement of the estate of Althea Brower (4 October 1841) names as her heirs, six of them: Garret Brower, John A. Brower, Letty Meserole, Maria Lefferts, Cornelia Bennet and the heirs of Elizabeth Bennet.

Althea, or Altje's, husband, Adolph Brower, was a son of Jeury Brouwer and Elizabeth Hilton and a great-grandson of Adam Brouwer. Adolph died 19 July 1827, "aged 87," and is was he who rebuilt the destroyed mills at Gowanus. It is likely that Adolph was considerably older then Aeltje. Their children were born between 1777 and 1790 and I estimate Aeltje's birth as between 1750 and 1760 (her mother was born in 1729).

Additional details and source citation for descendants of Aeltje Hulst and Adolph Brouwer will be included with the next update of the Brouwer Genealogy Database.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Albany, New York Burials: State Street Burial Ground and Albany Rural Cemetery

Inscriptions for burials at the State Street Burial Ground from the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church in Albany, New York, compiled by William V. Hanney were published in the Dutch Settlers Society of Albany Yearbook, volume 39 (1963-64). A scanned copy of the pages has been placed online (State Street, Albany burials).

There are just a few Browers on the list, but those researching other families of the Albany, New York area will find many other familiar names.

As the introduction states, those interred in this cemetery were moved in 1867 to the Albany Rural Cemetery, which is in Menands, New York. Menands is a village in the Town of Colonie, Albany County, just north of the Albany city line. includes in its collection of databases, "Menands, New York, Albany Rural Cemetery Burial Cards, 1791-2011." A paid subscription is required for access to the searchable database. The database contains burial records for 56 persons named BROWER and for five persons named BREWER. Images of the burial cards can be viewed and downloaded.

Here is an example of one of the burial cards. Nicholas M. C. Brower, originally from the Albany area, died at Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, but was buried in the Albany Rural Cemetery. He was an ancestor of Chester A. Brower.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pennsylvania Land Warrants and Applications has recently added a new searchable database to its collection. "Pennsylvania Land Warrants and Applications, 1733-1952," was added within the past month. A paid subscription to is required to access the database.

Pennsylvania, outside of the immediate vicinity of Philadelphia, can be a very difficult place to search for ancestors. Many Brouwer, Brower and Brewer researchers can document their ancestries back to some direct ancestor found in late 18th century or early 19th century Pennsylvania, only to be stopped right there. Even when aware of the fact (through DNA testing) that they are descended from one of the early New Netherland Brouwer families, the "paper trail" back to that family still cannot be completed. This is particularly true for Brower and Brewer families that settled early on in the western part of what became the state of Pennsylvania.

This new database will do little answer the question of "who was the ancestor of my Pennsylvania Brower/Brewer ancestor," however, it will at least provide another piece to the puzzle. Documenting a specific ancestor to a specific place, at a specific time, and discovering who his immediate neighbors were, at that time, can occasionally lead to a breakthrough in an otherwise stymied search. The searchable database provides a link to an image of the settlers warrant or application. As an example I have placed images of the 1807 application of Elias Brewer of Redstone, Fayette Co., Pennsylvania, online. (There are two images: Image 1; Image 2).

Although the above document tells us nothing of Elias' ancestry, it does inform us that Elias had the land he was applying for since 1791, and that Zephaniah Burt was a tenant on the property. Used in conjuncture with the U. S. Federal census records (taken every ten years beginning in 1790) it can help place when an ancestor came to a specific location and how long he remained there.

One way to vary your search procedure so as to see what other names were in the same location at the same time as your ancestor, is to (using the Advanced Search) leave the "surname" field blank, and enter the name of the county in the "county" field, and the year in which your ancestor's record is dated in the "year" field. With the example of Elias Brewer, when the surname field is left empty, and Fayette is entered for the county and 1791 for the year (the year in which Elias first held his land) we are given a list of 56 hits of names (some duplicated) of others who lived in Fayette County in 1791 as well. Perhaps looking into the origins of some of these families can provide a clue as to where they, and then possibly Elias Brewer, came from.

The database has nine hits for persons named BROWER. They are a James Brower, 1794, in Northampton Co., and eight hits for a William Brower, 1843 to 1864, in Centre County. There are 35 hits for persons named BREWER. They are 5 hits for a ____ Brewer in Bedford Co., 1785-1789; 1 hit for a ____ Brewer in Westmoreland Co., 1786; 1 hit for a ____ Brewer in Fayette Co., 1786; 1 hit for Absalom Brewer, Bedford Co., 1846; 1 hit for Am Brewer, Catiwassa, Columbia Co., 1814; 1 hit for Benjamin Brewer, Tyrone Co., 1786; 2 hits for C. D. Brewer, Lycoming Co., 1867; 1 hit for Charles Brewer, Fayette Co., 1794; 2 hits for Christian Brewer, Coventry, Chester Co., 1743; 3 hits for D. Lewis Brewer, Franklin Co., 1881; 1 hit for Edmond Brewer, Fayette Co., 1794; 2 hits for Elias Brewer, Fayette Co., 1807 (the two images above); 1 hit for Jacob Brewer, Franklin Co., 1875; 3 hits for John Brewer, Bullskin (1), Fayette Co., 1792 and 1794; 1 hit for John Brewer, Barree, Huntingdon Co., 1796; 1 hit for John Brewer, West, Huntingdon Co., 1812; 3 hits for Matthew/Matt Brewer, Buffalo (1), Union Co., 1813 and 1815; and 3 hits for William Brewer, Catiwassa (1), Columbia Co., 1814. There is also 1 Daniel Breure, Mifflin Co., 1793; 1 ___ Bruer, Northumberland Co., 1793; 1 Daniel Bruer, Luzerne Co., 1793; and 1 Jacob Bruer, Lancaster Co., 1765. states as their source for this database, Warrant Applications, 1733-1952. Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania State Archives. Land Warrants. Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, PA.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Family of Pieter Brouwer and Petronella Kleyn

Pieter Brouwer, the eldest child of Adam Brouwer and Magdalena Verdon of Gowanus, Long Island, was baptized on September 23, 1646 at the New Amsterdam Reformed Church. The sponsors at his baptism were "Mr. Paulus van der Beek" (his maternal grandmother's third husband), Willem Bredenbent (then husband of his maternal great-grandmother, and as with Pieter's father, originally from Cologne), Aeltje Braconye (his maternal great-grandmother), and Mary du Trieux (who had no known family relationship to either of Pieter's parents, but was a well known fixture of New Amsterdam society at that time).

Pieter was married sometime before 1673 (no record of the marriage survives) to Petronella Kleyn (or Cliene, Cleyn, etc.), a daughter of Uldrick Kleyn and Baefje Pieters. Her father was originally from Hesse (a state in present day Germany), while her mother was born in Amsterdam. The couple lived at Beverwijck/Albany, New York, where Petronella was likely born (no record of her baptism survives).

After their marriage it appears that Pieter and Petronella first lived at Schenectady, New York. The marriage records of their eldest two sons, Uldrick and Abraham, mention the place of birth for both as "Schoonegte" which would refer to Schenectady. By 1679 the family was living at Gowanus on Long Island when both Pieter and Petronella were admitted as members of the Reformed Church at Flatbush. In September 1687, Pieter took the oath of allegiance at Brooklyn, where he is called a "native" (i.e. born in this country). In 1690, Pieter Brouwer was among those from Kings County, Long Island who were raised to form a militia to be sent to Albany (his youngest brother Nicholas was also a member of this militia). By October 1700 Pieter was living at East Jersey when he is stated as such in a deed in which Pieter conveys his share of the mill property at Gowanus to his brothers Abraham and Nicholas. This is the last known record of Pieter Brouwer. Dates or places of death for either Pieter or his wife Petronella have not been discovered. Three of the youngest children of this family (Cornelia, Jacob and Maria) all began and lived their adult lives in the vicinity of Albany, New York. It is conceivable that Pieter and Petronella moved some time shortly after 1700 to the Albany area (Petronella's original home) bringing the youngest children with them. On 3 March 1723, a Petrus Brouwer, along with Hendrick Oothout, stood as sponsors for the baptism of Hendrick, son of Claes Bovy and Cornelia Brouwer. This child, Hendrick, was a grandson of Pieter Brouwer, and if the "Petrus Brouwer" named as a sponsor and Pieter Brouwer are one and the same, it would show that Pieter was alive in 1723, and would have been 77 years old.

Of the fourteen children of Adam Brouwer and Magdalena Verdon who reached adulthood, Pieter likely has the largest number of documented descendants. At least it appears that way (no formal statistical study has been done). This is largely due to the fact that the ten children of Pieter and Petronella settled either in Bergen County, New Jersey or Albany, New York, two places where Reformed Church records (Hackensack, Schraalenburgh and Aquackanonk in Bergen and Essex Cos., New Jersey, and the Albany Reformed Church) are largely complete through the 1700s. A number of the other children of Adam Brouwer and Magdalena Verdon settled in areas such as Westchester and Dutchess Counties, New York, and Monmouth, Somerset and Hunterdon Counties, New Jersey, areas where the Reformed Church records are less complete.

Additional details and source citations for Pieter, his wife, and their ten children can be found online in The Family of Pieter Brouwer and Petronella Kleyn, and at the Brouwer Genealogy Database.

One published article with some incorrect information regarding Pieter Brouwer needs to be mentioned. In the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, vol. 95, no. 4 (1964) pages 193-196, is an article by Mrs. John Spell, titled "Relief Receipts in New Netherland." The subject of the article focuses around the relief given to Uldrick Kleyn and Beafje Pieters, Pieter Brouwer's father-in-law and mother-in-law. On page 196, the author notes that Pieter was given only three shillings for reasons of "disobedience" in the 1692 will of his father (which is accurate) but then states that Pieter "retaliated" by naming his eldest son Uldrick, for his father-in-law, rather then naming him Adam, for his own father. Unfortunately, Mrs. Snell has the chronology for this case backwards. Pieter's eldest son, Uldrick, was likely born about 1673 (he married in 1698), and was probably about 19 or 20 years old when Adam Brouwer wrote his will and declared his son Pieter to have been "disobedient."  Perhaps it was Adam who was doing the retaliating for the naming snub, but honestly, that is something we can never know with certainty. Adam did not state the action of disobedience committed by Pieter. Adam also called out his daughter Aeltje and son Jacob for "disobedience" and at least in the case of Jacob, who did name a son Adam, the reason must have been something entirely different than a disagreement over the naming of a child.
Mrs. Snell also states that "Pieter and Pieternella are buried in the churchyard besides 'the Church on the Green' at Hackinsack." She gives no source for this statement, and to my knowledge there is no record of burial for either Pieter Brouwer or his wife, Petronella Kleyn, in the Hackensack church records. It is doubtful they are buried there.

To date, four descendants of Pieter Brouwer have participated in the Brewer DNA Project. The lineages of these participants can be found online through the Pieter Brouwer Chart link on the Adam Brouwer Group DNA Results Page.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Chester A. Brower and some Descendants of Cornelius C. Brower and Phebe Simpson of Coeymans and Kingston, N. Y.

In 2008 I received about 250 pounds of research material pertaining to the surnames Brouwer, Brower and Brewer from William B. Bogardus. Readers of this blog have seen mention of the "William B. Bogardus Collection" in numerous posts. Much of the material consisted of correspondence between Bill and his numerous "Cousins," as he always called them. From time to time I will dedicate a post to a specific set of correspondence between Bill and one of his "Cousins." The post will be used to expand upon the research presented in the correspondence and to hopefully resolve any unanswered questions that initially prompted the correspondent to contact Bill Bogardus.

The correspondence of Chester A. Brower recently caught my attention because of the volume of material he sent to Bill Bogardus. It also interests me because, although he was close to it, there is no indication in the correspondence that Chester A. Brower actually discovered his correct ancestry.

Chester Arthur Brower (1922-2005) was a son of Arthur Chester Brower (1886-1946) and Eleanor Garrelman (b. 1887). He is a descendant of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, L. I. , something Chester was certain of and correct about, although he did not have the correct line of ancestry (as shown in the link just provided). Chester's work started with a Bible record in his possession which consisted of the family record of descendants of Cornelius C. Brower and Phebe Simpson who lived at Coeymans and later (unknown to Chester) Kingston, New York. The Bible record was is terrible condition and extremely difficult to read. The photocopy given to Bill Bogardus is in many areas essentially impossible to decipher. Only entries for more recent generations are readable. The rest of Chester's research material consists of his own correspondence with various historians at libraries and historical societies in the Albany, New York area, and some correspondence with others researching their own BROWER ancestry. The pages also contain Chester's notes, sometimes repeated, but never coalesced or organized into any easy to use format. The notes can be quite confusing, but with some care and caution some useful items were discovered within them.

Chester A. Brower knew his grandfather to be Nicholas C. (or M. C.) Brower, born at Coeymans, New York on 18 October 1835 and died at Ridgefield Park, New Jersey on 2 December 1917. Nicholas' wife was Elizabeth Zetter who died 10 September 1897 at Ridgefield Park, and is believed to have been born in Massachusetts (either at Fall River or Boston), but whose parents are unknown and for whom little else has been discovered. The two, along with other family members, are buried at the Albany Rural Cemetery in Menands, New York. Chester hit his first road block with the belief that Nicholas was a son of a Martin Brower. This belief is taken from the 1917 death certificate of Nicholas M. C. Brower in which is written at the bottom: "Father - Martin C. Brower." Chester assumes that first, this statement is correct, and second, that Martin C. Brower must be a son of Cornelius C. Brower and Phebe Simpson (whose Bible record he has, but which makes no mention of a son named Martin, as far as can be determined). Chester did his research in 1969 and 1970, and today there is much better and easier access (thanks to the internet) to records that were not readily available to Chester forty years ago. Searches for Martin C. Brower, or any hint of him, turned up nothing. There is not one mention of a possible Martin Brower who could fit the role of father to Nicholas C. Brower. On top of this, the 1850 census record for the family of Cornelius E. (sic) Brower and Phebe Brower, at Kingston, New York, includes a Nicholas Brower aged 15 years, the exact age Nicholas C. Brower would be in 1850 since he was born in 1835. The other members of the family on the census record match the names and ages of those found in the Bible record that was in Chester A. Brower's possession. Chester was apparently unaware that the family lived for some time at Kingston (in his notes he states that he does not know where the family of Cornelius and Phebe Brower went after living at Coeymans) but if he had seen the 1850 census record mentioned, he likely would have recognized the family. Nicholas C. Brower was not a son of a Martin C. Brower. He was a son of Cornelius C. Brower and Phebe Simpson (who Chester believed were Nicholas's grandparents).

Cornelius C. Brower was born 15 June 1792 (from the Bible record) and was baptized at the First Lutheran Church at Albany on 1 July 1792, the son of Cornelius Brower and his wife, Ghemini (Vosburgh, Records of the First Lutheran Church in the City of Albany, N. Y. New York: New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, 1917; vol. 1, p. 40). In turn, his father (Cornelius Brower) was the Cornelis, baptized 9 October 1757, son of Nicholas Brouwer and Mareytje Boom (HSNY, Reecords of the Reformed Dutch Church of Albany, New York 1683-1809, Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1978, part 4, page 56). "Ghemini" (the wife of Cornelius C.) was Cathalyntje McManny who not only is seen as Cathalyntje McManus, but also as Jacomyntje Meck and Jemima McMannis (her correct name was likely Jemima or Jacomyntje [Dutch equivalent] which was possibly misread at some early date perhaps by Jonathan Pearson during his research on Albany families. Her correct surname was likely McManus). So, with the exception of including an extra generation represented by "Martin C. Brower," Chester has his ancestry correct back to Nicholas Brouwer and Mareytje (Maria) Boom of Albany, New York. From this point, however, Chester has the ancestry back to Adam Brouwer all wrong.

It is here that Chester makes the all too common mistake of taking what has previously been published as settled fact, when, especially in the field of genealogy, it frequently isn't. In his correspondence with the Historian for Montgomery County, New York, Chester is given an incorrect ancestry that is claimed in Cuyler Reynolds, Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1911) which inexplicably gives Nicholas Brouwer's (husband of Maria Boom) lineage from Adam Brouwer as follows: Adam Brouwer > Jacob Brouwer (m. Annatje Bogardus) > Adam Brower (m. Deborah Allen) of Monmouth Co., New Jersey > Nicholas Brouwer (m. Maria Boom) and "had sons William H., Aaron and John, all of whom settled in Montgomery County." (In this account Cuyler Reynolds not only gives an incorrect ancestry for Nicholas Brouwer, but he assigns him sons who are actually descendants of William Brower of Schenectady and Stone Arabia). Chester then, with the addition of the baptism record from the Albany Reformed Dutch Church for Cornelius (1757) completes his presumed ancestry, and then (to his credit) undertakes further research and correspondence in an effort to find better evidence to it's validity. Something he apparently does not find.

Nicholas Brouwer is not a son of Adam Brewer (or Brower as Cuyler Reynolds calls him) and Deborah Allen. Adam Brewer's family is very well documented and he does not have a son named Nicholas. (I will also note that I did not have copies of Bill Bogardus' replies to Chester A. Brower, but I would strongly suspect that he warned Chester that Nicholas was certainly not a son of Adam Brewer and Deborah Allen.) The truth is, verifying the correct parents of Nicholas Brouwer is very likely impossible. No record of baptism for Nicholas has been identified. All we know of Nicholas is that he married Maria Boom on 31 July 1757 at the Albany Reformed Dutch Church (only three months before son Cornelius is baptized). The couple had six children (including Cornelius) baptized at Albany between 1757 and 1769. No estate or probate records for Nicholas as known to exist. His wife, Maria Boom, was baptized 16 May 1731 at Kinderhook, a daughter of Johannes Boom and Anna Burger. My belief is that it is most likely, but not provable, that Nicholas is a son of Cornelis Nicholasz Brouwer and his first wife, Hannah Hilton. This will be expanded upon in a future posting, but if correct it would mean that Chester A. Brower actually had two lines of ancestry back to Adam Brouwer, as Hannah Hilton was herself a daughter of Anna Brouwer and a granddaughter of Adam Brouwer (Cornelis and Hannah were first cousins).

Beginning with clues from Chester A. Brower's notes, and then using available records found online, including census, burial and vital records at and Family Search, it has been possible to discover some additional descendants of Cornelius C. Brower and Phebe Simpson, cousins that Chester A. Brower may not have known he had.

Further details and source citations will be provided online with the next update of the Brouwer Genealogy Database.

Thank you to Karen Brewer Sims for scanning the notes and correspondence of Chester A. Brower. They consist of eighteen PDFs and are now available online for anyone interested in looking through them. I do this with some hesitation as there is a good deal of incorrect Brouwer claims and information found within the pages. Much of the material received by Chester A. Brower from various Historians and others has nothing to do with his own ancestors. With the caveat that all who use this info are instructed to do so with caution, here are links to the eighteen files:
Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13
Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Corrections to the descendants of Aris Brower/Aaron Brewer of Monmouth Co., New Jersey

The current version of the Brouwer Genealogy Database contains errors in the accounts of a few of the descendants of Aris Brower, a.k.a. Aaron Brewer. He was married to Neeltje Cooper and lived in Shrewsbury, Monmouth County, New Jersey. Aaron Brewer's will was dated 7 April 1800 and was proved 13 June 1800. Inventory on his estate was taken 22 April 1800, which tells us that he died sometime between the 7th and 22nd of April in 1800.

Carole Leishman, was kind enough to send me an e-mail pointing out the errors and providing sources for the proof. One of which was the will mentioned above. Although I was already aware of it,  I had clumsily read and misrepresented it on the BGD website. In need of correction are the spouse of Aaron's daughter Antje/Anna and the list of her children. The current BGD shows Antje married to James Johnson. This is incorrect. Antje was married to Samuel Johnson, which is clearly stated in her father's will. Antje's sister Helena was married to James Johnson (as her second husband). The family of Antje Brower and James Johnson, as presently shown, is incorrect, and clearly belongs to another man named James Johnson, Jr. who was of Howell, New Jersey in 1803, when he wrote his will (he did have a wife named Anna, but she cannot be Antje Brower). Antje's correct husband is Samuel Johnson (as was stated in the will). The James Johnson who was married to Antje's sister Helena is a different man then the James Johnson, Jr. of Howell (with will of 1803 and wife, Anna). The correct family of Samuel Johnson and Antje/Anna Brower, as pointed out by Carole, is found in Intestates and Others from the Orphans Court Books of Monmouth County, New Jersey, 1785-1906, on page 84, where on 10 November 1850, Aaron Johnson (son of Samuel Johnson) petitioned the court for the division of his deceased father's real estate. The long list of heirs mentioned in the file provides proof for the children, and some grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Samuel Johnson. (The above cited source can be accessed at, although a subscription is required).

The corrected families can be found on the updated version of "Descendants of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, L. I." Aris Brower/Aaron Brewer is no. 76 in this document. His daughter Antje/Anna is no. 246. The BGD website will include the updates when it is next updated. The chart, "Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, L. I." has also been revised and updated.

Thank you, again, to Carole for bringing this error to my attention. Corrections to the existing BGD are always welcome, but please include verifiable source citations that I can check myself, as Carole did in this case. Too many times I receive e-mails from folks informing me of an "error" in the BGD, but they neglect to send any proof for their "corrections." Often I find that these cases involve old unproven and erroneous claims of descent from Jacob Brouwer who's wife Annatje Bogardus was a granddaughter of Anneke Jans. If you do have a verifiable correction to bring to my attention please do not hesitate to contact me. However, if what you may believe is an error cannot be proved, then please hold off until, or unless, you can verify your belief. What you find on this website and on the BGD website is not all my doing. I've received a good deal of input, corrections, additions and suggestions from others. All of the assistance I've received is truly appreciated. Thank you.

And since this post has to do with the family of Aris Brower/Aaron Brewer, can anyone provide an identification for the parents of his first wife, Neeltje Cooper?

Thursday, July 5, 2012 is the website of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Membership in the NEHGS is required for access to the full site. There are, however, some aspects of the site that are free, including some free databases.

Founded in 1845, the NEHGS was the first, and is the oldest, genealogical society to have been established in the U. S. Although for the majority of its existence the NEHGS was focused on genealogical research and preservation in New England, they have in recent years (especially since the advent of internet based genealogy research) expanded their reach to include areas outside of New England. The one region that has received the most attention is New York, and those of us who have research interests in the families of colonial New York, and New Netherland, are well served by some of the newest additions to the catalog of databases that the NEHGS offers to members via the website.

Some examples:

The two most recent database additions are Brooklyn Cemetery Inscriptions, 1707-1882, and Brooklyn Baptisms and Marriages in the Reformed Dutch Church, 1660-1719. Both of these databases were created from records published by the Kings County Genealogical Club between 1882 and 1898. While the preferred source for citing baptism and marriage records in the Brooklyn Dutch Church is A. P. G. Jos Van der Linde, Old First Dutch Reformed Church of Brooklyn, New York: First Book of Records, 1660-1752, New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1983), this book can be difficult to locate and access, and the new online database offered by the NEHGS is searchable and available online from any computer with a membership.

Other databases that would be of interest to New York researchers are:

Abstracts of Wills, Administrations and Guardianships in NY State, 1787-1835
Pearson's First Settlers of Albany County from 1630 to 1800
Settlers of the Beekman Patent, vols. 1-7 (Dutchess County)
Death Notices from the New York Evening Post, 1801-1890
Deaths in the Christian Intelligencer (Reformed Dutch Church), 1830-1871
Dutchess County, NY Marriages, 1776-1805
Pearson's First Settlers of Schenectady, from 1662 to 1800
Marriage Notices from the New York Evening Post
Marriages in the Christian Intelligencer (Reformed Dutch Church), 1830-1871
New Netherland Connections (all 15 volumes, searchable and downloadable as PDFs)
New York Genealogical & Biographical Record (currently vols. 1-20, 1870-1889 are available and searchable with more to be added periodically).
New York Wills, 1626-1836
New York, NY: Parish Register of All Saints' Church, 1824-1862
Abstracts of New York County Wills, 1662-1801
Albany County Deeds, 1630-1894 (this is the index to the deed books)
Long Island Cemetery Inscriptions, 1652-1910
Onondaga County, NY Abstracts of Wills, 1796-1841
Onondaga County, NY Guardianship Records, 1815-1849
Otsego County, NY Newspaper Records
Records of Deaths and Marriages from the Albany Argus, 1826-1828
Rensselaer County, NY Death Records, 1847-1851
Syracuse, NY Marriages preformed by Rev. Ezekiel W. Mundy
Syracuse, NY Records of St. Paul's (P. E.) Church, 1830-1853
Thurman, NY Estate Assessment Rolls 1806-1809 & 1812
The Van Deursen Family

And also:

The American Genealogist (presently vols. 1-68 are available, features many articles on New Netherland and New York families)
Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine (presently vols. 1-25 available)
New England Historic and Genealogical Register (all volumes to date available) which periodically has articles focused on New York families and records

I suspect that much more will be added in the future and hopefully the NEHGS will expand its databases to include New Jersey as well. Compared to other websites which offer genealogy databases for a fee (such as and the NYGBS website) access to through an annual membership is a terrific value. I recommend it to anyone with genealogical research interests in New York and New Netherland. It is the genealogical website that I often log into first when starting on a new research subject.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Further Update Regarding Claas de Graaf

In the post of May 25, 2012, I raised the question of evidence for the name, Andriese, as the stated patronymic for Claas de Graaf, the husband of Elizabeth Brouwer. Claas had been given the name, "Claas Andriesse de Graaf" by Jonathan Pearson (First Settlers of Schenectady, p.54) and since mentioning this I have been searching for Pearson's source for this name. It appears that a source has now been found.

On November 2, 1682, Willem Ghysbertse and Claes Andriesz Graef witnessed a contract between Symon Volckertsen Veeder and Jacob Casparsen Halenbeck by which the two exchanged property. This was recorded in Albany County. The contract can be found on page 545 in Early Records of the City and County of Albany and Colony of Rensselaerswyck, Volume 3, Notarial Papers 1 and 2, 1660-1696 (Albany: University of the State of New York, 1918). This volume is available as an e-book online at Google Books (ERA v. 3). This volume was written by the same Jonathan Pearson mentioned above, but was revised and edited by Arnold J. F. Van Laer, who came some years after Pearson and is more highly regarded for his ability and accuracy in translating and transcribing the original colonial records. Since ERA is a transcription, and not the original records themselves, we have to trust that the patronymic, "Andriesz" was in the original, and that Pearson did not add it in himself.

Therefore, if do accept the above name of Claas Andriesz Graef as accurate to the original record of 1682, we can now accept Pearson's assertion that Claas de Graaf was a son of a man named Andries. He could very well be a son of the Andries de Graaf who appeared in New Amsterdam in 1661, but as of now this is only based upon the recognition of a shared name, and acceptable genealogical proof is still lacking. Hopefully, some proof can be found.

I would also add that the above record, dated 1682, does nothing to shed light on the claim by Pearson that Claas de Graaf was born in 1628.

See also, The Family of Elizabeth Brouwer and Claas de Graaf of Schenectady.